Press Release

Ministry of Health & Social Development
BVI Health Services Authority
Release Date:
Friday, 14 February 2020 - 5:19pm

Acting Chief of Medical Staff at the BVI Health Services Authority, Dr. Monica Odwin has announced that a plan is in place to manage the coronavirus threat locally.

Dr. Odwin said the plan seeks to create synergy between the Dr. D. Orlando Smith Hospital, community clinics and the home. She stated that while the BVIHSA is focusing on infection prevention and control as its first line of defense, measures are in place to manage potential cases.

 “Infection prevention and control is central to the plan,” she said, adding, “This includes education, the implementation of standard contact and airborne precautions and the use of Personal Protective Equipment.”

Dr. Odwin stated, “We are in the process of conducting staff training, giving updates and setting up respiratory stations at all of our health facilities. We have revised triage and patient flows in the Emergency Room, identified isolation spaces and have plans in place to deal with suspected cases.”

The Chief of Medical Staff also noted that at this time, diagnostic testing for the coronavirus (COVID-19) can be conducted only at CARPHA (Caribbean Public Health Agency) while local capacity is being developed.

Dr. Odwin has advised that if persons have a fever and signs and symptoms of lower respiratory tract infection such as a cough and shortness of breath and plan to seek medical attention at one our facilities please do the following:

  • Call ahead to the health centre or the hospital before you arrive
  • Use private transportation and avoid the use of public transportation
  • When persons arrive at the health care facility, ensure that their first stop is at the Respiratory Station where they will be offered a face mask and hand sanitizer. They will also be required to complete a brief questionnaire

Dr. Odwin cautioned that lowering vulnerability to the coronavirus will take an “all of society” approach. “We are working with key agencies, however, as an individual you also have your part to play.  Start with proper hand hygiene, avoid touching your face, restrict unnecessary travel to affected areas and use sneeze and cough etiquette to limit the transmission of germs,” she said.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is a disease of varying severity presenting with symptoms that can mirror the cold and flu in addition to more serious respiratory diseases.  

BVI Health Services Authority is committed to delivering excellent, compassionate, client centered healthcare across the Territory.


Natasha Lettsome-Humphrey

Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health/Social Development
Telephone: 468-2286